Agriprocessors Inc.’s former CEO has been charged with conspiring to harbor illegal immigrants for profit, aiding and abetting document fraud, and aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft. This follows a Department of Homeland Security worksite raid at the company’s Postville, Iowa, plant in May which resulted in the arrest of 400 illegal immigrants. The arrest of the former CEO of the country’s largest kosher meatpacking company highlights the DHS’ escalating efforts to crack down on companies employing undocumented workers. DHS has sent a clear message that anyone, even the most senior-level executive, may be held liable for criminal violation of immigration laws.
The criminal complaint alleges that, in the days before the May worksite raid, the former CEO directly assisted undocumented workers to obtain fraudulent documents that could pass DHS scrutiny. The ex-CEO could face up to 22 years in prison if convicted on all the federal charges.
Agriprocessors had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on November 5, 2008. The company attributes its financial difficulties to the worksite raid adversely impacting its operations and bottom line.